LEWIS HAMILTON will race in a new, black Mercedes for the 2020 season in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
The British Formula One star has been speaking out in recent weeks – most-notably slamming former boss Bernie Ecclestone for claiming "black people are more racist than white people".
And now both Hamilton, 35, and Mercedes have pledged to build a new legacy.
Taking to Twitter, Mercedes wrote: "Introducing our new 2020 livery – a pledge to improve the diversity of our team and our sport, and a signal of the team’s commitment to fighting racism and discrimination in all its forms."
Mercedes have traditionally raced in shades of grey and silver – a nod to their "Silver Arrows" nickname from the 1930s.
But with the first race of the delayed F1 season scheduled for Sunday, Mercedes have gone against the grain in a bid to help shine a light on – and fight – racism.
In a statement, Hamilton said: “It’s so important that we seize this moment and use it to educate ourselves whether you are an individual, brand or company to make real meaningful changes when it comes to ensuring equality and inclusivity.
"I have personally experienced racism in my life and seen my family and friends experience racism, and I am speaking from the heart when I appeal for change."
It makes complete sense to me now that nothing was said or done to make our sport more diverse or to address the racial abuse I received throughout my career.
Meanwhile, Mercedes chief Toto Wolff said: "[Racism and discrimination] have no place in our society, our sport or our team.
"This is a core belief at Mercedes. But having the right beliefs and the right mindset isn’t enough if we remain silent."
As well as an all-new, black livery, Mercedes will sport an "End racism" sign on the halo – and F1's "#WeRaceAsOne initiative on the wing-mirrors.
'LISTEN & LEARN'
And in a longer statement, Mercedes added: "As a team, we have used the past weeks to listen to the perspectives of our team members, to learn and to reflect on our team as it is today and how we want it to be in the future.
"This lack of diversity shows that we need to find new approaches to attract talent from many areas of society we do not currently reach.
"We know that our team will be stronger if we can attract talents from the broadest possible pool and we are committed to achieving this through positive action."
Last week, Hamilton called former F1 supremo Ecclestone "ignorant" for his comments on race.
On 89-year-old Ecclestone's comments, Hamilton said: "Damn, I just don't even know where to start with this one. So sad and disappointing to read.
"Bernie is out of the sport and a different generation but this is exactly what is wrong – ignorant and uneducated comments which show us how far we as a society need to go before real equality can happen.
"It makes complete sense to me now that nothing was said or done to make our sport more diverse or to address the racial abuse I received throughout my career.
"If someone who has run the sport for decades has such a lack of understanding of the deep routed issues we as black people deal with every day, how can we expect all the people who work under him to understand. It starts at the top.
"Now the time has come for change. I will not stop pushing to create an inclusive future for our sport with equal opportunity for all."
Last weekend, Hamilton spoke of his pride after attending a Black Lives Matter protest at Hyde Park.
The six-time world champion said: "I was so proud to see in person so many people of all races and backgrounds supporting this movement.
"I was proud to be out there acknowledging and supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, and my black heritage.
"I was so happy to see people of all ages, sporting Black Lives Matter signs and saying it just as passionately as I was.
"I was also happy to see so many white supporters out there today in the name of equality for all.
"It was really moving. I’m feeling extremely positive that change will come, but we cannot stop now. Keep pushing."
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